Tag Archives: alaska fisheries

Thank God it’s Friday’s random facts: The Wood-Tikchik edition

Thank God it's Friday facts Just north of Dillingham, thousands of king salmon are entering the Nushegak river. Just over the hill, the Agluowak is brimming with Arctic char, sockeye salmon and rainbow trout. These waterways are in the drop-dead gorgeous Wood-Tikchik State Park, where your amasser of Friday facts is currently enjoying a visit. Here are a few Friday facts about the park, and about the nearby Pebble Mine.

    • Wood-Tikchik State Park is the largest state park in Alaska and the United States.
    • At 1.6 million acres, it’s about the size of Delaware.
    • There are 15 major lakes in the park, varying in length from 15-45 miles, and can be as deep at 900 feet.
    • The Agulowak provides spawning grounds for 200,000 sockeye salmon and passes 1.2 million others to higher spawning grounds in the drainage.
    • Some of those salmon in the park waterways will make their way to the site of the proposed Pebble Mine, which, if built, would be one of the largest gold and copper mines in the world.
    • Callan J. Chythlook-Sifsof from Aleknagik, Alaska was a member of the United States snowboarding team in the 2010 Winter Olympics and is training for the 2014 Winter Olympics. She has some things to say about Pebble Mine in Thursday’s New York Times in a piece entitled, “Native Alaska, Under Threat.”
    • Gold fell 23 percent in second quarter to close at $1,223.80 an ounce on Friday, the lowest it’s been in about three years. Mining companies are taking it hard. If things continue, Donald Marleau an analyst at Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said that he would expect the market to downgrade mining companies.
    • In the past 52 weeks, Northern Dynasty’s stock has fluctuated between $5.40 and $1.85. It closed on Friday at $2.09. Northern Dynasty’s principle asset is Pebble Mine. In 2007, the company partnered with mining giant Anglo American plc. Which is required to fund US$1.5 billion of project costs to retain its 50 percent interest.
    • In the past 52 weeks, Anglo American’s stock has fluctuated between $16.96 to $9.53. On Friday, its stock closed at $9.63.
    • In 2010, 538 Washington residents held drift gillnet and set gillnet commercial salmon fishing licenses in Bristol Bay, off of which they made a total gross estimated earnings of about $60 million.
    • The 2010 census counted 299 residents in both Iliamna and Newhalen, two communities closest to the mine. Out of those, only 26 had commercial fishing permits, and only 22 fished those permits, according to the Alaska’s Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Board of Fisheries confirmation expected to be whale of a fight

There are plenty of contentious issues to get through before the Legislature is expected to gavel out April 15. Oil taxes, for one. A bill that would facilitate building a bullet line to run gas from the North Slope to Southcentral Alaska. A plan to begin the work to truck natural gas from the North Slope to Fairbanks. There’s Medicaid and abortion. There’s school choice and guns.

And then there’s the whale of politics: fish politics. On Monday beginning at 10:30 a.m., such politics will come to a head in a joint session, where both bodies will vote on Gov. Parnell’s choice to re-nominate Board of Fisheries members Vince Webster. The fight, which will pit the politically active sports fishermen against the big monied commercial guys, is expected to be brutal.

The powerful Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) put out an alert to urge members to contact their reps to vote against the nomination. Read the full letter here. In short, the association accuses Webster of favoring commercial interest at the expense of the sports fisheries.

Parnell’s prepping for a fight. His chief of staff, Mike Nizich, sent an email out to legislators (printed in full below) urging legislators to vote for Webster and questioning the veracity of KRSA’s claims.

It’s a risky move and Parnell is not one to take risks. We’ll see if it pays off.

Here’s the email Nizich sent to legislators:

I am aware of efforts to unfairly characterize Vince Webster’s actions as a Board of Fisheries member, including the following claims:

  • he is supposedly singlehandedly responsible for the new late-run Kenai River Chinook salmon escapement goal;
  • he allegedly reframed the Board’s late-run Kenai River Chinook salmon management plan agenda item to benefit setnetters at the expense of all other user groups and escapement;
  • he allegedly drives a personal agenda through unseemly means, including allegations related to specific fisheries.

These are misleading, incomplete, and in some cases, inaccurate statements about Vince Webster’s work on the Board. Indeed, the Governor never would have re-appointed him had if he believed such allegations were true. These claims are now being made by some in the eleventh hour to influence your vote.

Before voting “no” to Vince Webster’s reconfirmation, we ask you provide Vince the courtesy of a phone call to hear his response to recent allegations. Vince will make himself available to legislators to discuss his 6-year record on the Board. Although Vince is traveling out-of-state with his son, he is available to talk with you at (redacted).

Vince’s broad understanding of fisheries issues statewide, experience with Board process, and respect for public input are assets to the Board. Vince has been confirmed twice to serve two 3-year terms on the Board; this is a third appointment. Members are appointed with a view to providing diversity of interest and points of view in the membership (AS 16.05.221). His confirmation should not be blocked due to misinformation.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com